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Lucifer Was: The Crown of Creation

Lucifer Was started life thirty years ago as a progressive rock outfit in Norway and between 1970 and 1976 performed regularly and recorded some demos. For the next twenty years the band performed sporadically, however in 1996 the original line up got back together and finally recorded their debut, which quite remarkably featured music that had been written between 1970 and 1972. Another three albums have followed since and with each the Lucifer Was sound has been extended and embellished. Initially the addition of mellotron and keyboards offered a new aspect to the LW palette, however subsequent releases added a string quartet and with their new album The Crown of Creation, the Norwegians have gone the whole hog and added a symphony orchestra to their repertoire.

Unlike most, if not all rock/classical crossovers, Lucifer Was recorded all the orchestral pieces before the actual band got involved and it has to be said the results are quite wonderful. While LW describe themselves as prog rock (and there are masses of prog references), some others have called this latest work neo-classical rock. Neither of these labels really comes too close to giving a good idea of what is contained in The Crown of Creation. Yes there are some guitars in evidence and this is undoubtedly classical, however the tag neo-classical, in the terms that it is used for rock/metal music, couldn't be further from the beautiful, dramatic, fragile and bombastic music on this album. Imagine a mixture of Deep Purple's Concerto For Group and Orchestra, Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds, very slight touches of Rainbow, Jethro Tull and then add to that the strange thought that the whole things sounds like it was put together by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

The fifteen tracks on show really gel quite beautifully to create one piece of music that almost sounds alive as the emotion conveyed through flutes, recorders, strings, choirs and the electric instruments are so strong and believable. Vocally Jon Ruder mixes elements of Ian Gillan and Dennis DeYoung with his very stage like style. Every word he and his female vocal partner (she isn't credited in the details I received) sing adds the right amount of drama to the music and heightens the sense of storytelling that is evident throughout. The man who composed the music Thore Engen who along with Andreas Sjo Engen and Freddy Linquist also contributes some fine guitar playing and the other two full time members of the band, bassist Einar Bruu and drummer Rune Engen really have done a stunning job complementing the completed orchestral score and it is impossible to tell that all the parts were not recorded simultaneously.

At times the album becomes more a classical piece with vocals, with the rock band merely adding some strokes of colour. However the fact that the heavier aspects are allowed to come from the orchestra as often as they do the band makes for a far more cohesive and less contrived experience. Lyrically the concepts covers the rather large "themes of the beginning of everything, the universe, and to what's called escathology, which is the teachings of the final things to come. All the unknown myths or facts after death. Is there a heaven, is there a judgement day, are we born again, are the souls tied to a bigger cluster?" But don't let that massive remit put you off as the lyrics are clever and thoughtful and only add to the huge grandiosity of the music.

Lucifer Was have attempted something of a massively grand scale with their fifth album and I have to take my hat off to them, as with a type of music and an approach that has confused and confounded many before them, they have pulled it off with style and class. Excellent!

Track Listing
1. Wonder
2. Three Hammers
3. Unformed and Void
4. By A White Lace
5. Beggar's Bowl
6. Rising Sun
7. Try Me
8. The Crown Of Creation
9. Moments
10. Bethanian theme
11. Burning beautiful flowers
12. Cabris sans cornes

Added: April 26th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 4104
Language: english

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